Linksys turns Wi-Fi up a notch with Smart Wi-Fi EA6900 router

Linksys announces its next router in the Smart Wi-Fi EA series, the true dual-band EA6900, which offers a top combined speed of up to 1,900Mbps.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read
The Linksys EA6900 is the first in the EA series to have external antennas.
The Linksys EA6900 is the first in the EA series to have external antennas. Linksys

Linksys introduced today at IFA 2013 the latest in its Smart Wi-Fi EA series of home networking devices, the EA6900 true dual-band router.

The new device's marketing name is Linksys Smart Wi-Fi AC1900 router, and the AC1900 hints that it offers a combined speed on both its 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands of up to 1,900Mbps. More specifically, on the 5GHz band, the router offers up to 1,300Mbps when used with 802.11ac-enabled clients, and on the 2.4GHz band it offers up to 600Mbps to supported 802.11n clients.

While the speed of 802.11ac is to be expected for a top-tier three-stream router, the speed for 802.11n is new. Up to now, even the fastest 802.11n router has been able to offer only up to 450Mbps ceiling speed.

As it turns out, the EA6900 uses the newer 256 QAM modulation chip set from Broadcom that's capable of delivering 200Mbps per partial stream, as opposed to 150Mbps per partial stream of existing 64QAM modulation on the chip set. This means the top speeds can only be achieved when the router works with clients that support the same hardware. The new router supports all existing Wi-Fi clients on the market, however.

Like all new 802.11ac routers, the EA6900 is equipped with beamforming technology to offer fast speed and long range, and is designed to precisely adjust, steer, and monitor the direction and shape of the Wi-Fi signals for better overall performance.

The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC1900 (EA6900) features an 800MHz dual-core processor, a USB 3.0 connection for media streaming and data sharing, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and three removable external dipole antennas. You also get a free Linksys Smart Wi-Fi account and there's a Linksys Smart Wi-Fi App mobile app for remote access and management of your home network.

Apart from the new router, Linksys also introduced today the Linksys Wireless-AC USB Adapter (WUSB6300), a dual-band, dual-stream USB 802.11ac-enabled adapter that can be used to quickly upgrade a laptop or desktop to 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

The new adapter is available now and costs $69. The Linksys EA6900 Smart Wi-Fi AC1900 Router, on the other hand, is supposed to be available in stores in October at a price of $249. Check back then for a full review.